Letter: Museum's art sale will hamstring future funding

Posted
To the editor:

My background is in finance in the banking, foundation and nonprofit venues. My work at The Foundation Center in New York and my study of art history compel me to protest the Berkshire Museum's sale of 40 works of art, ostensibly to save itself financially.

I looked at the public record financials of the museum, with a particular focus on funding from grants, membership and programming. For many years, including the past five, the museum has lost more than $1 million annually, with no matching funding that even came close to its expenses. Why not membership and capital/endowment fundraising from members and patrons? Operationally, no business, not even nonprofits, should be run without matched funding.

My greatest concern is that the museum has failed to focus on those operational deficits, and instead seeks the quick fix of selling its most culturally valuable holdings. Now, with the impending sale of the artworks, the museum has shot itself in the foot for future funding from basic sources — membership, capital campaigns and foundation grants.

Linda Gunderson,

Pittsfield

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